Twenty-six Oregon seniors from just 13 public and private high schools have won the highest tier of scholarship awarded by the National Merit Scholarship Corp. this spring.
This year, students at Westview High in Beaverton absolutely dominated the competition, with eight winning elite $2,500 National Merit Scholarships. Neighboring Sunset High’s three winners made that Beaverton school the only other Oregon school with more than two students awarded the honor.
Winners of the $2,500 scholarships are judged to be the best of the best among National Merit Scholars, with what the scholarship organization says are the strongest combination of accomplishments, skills and potential for success in college. Panels of high school counselors and college admission officers pick them based on grades, difficulty of courses taken, standardized test scores, an essay and recommendations from a teacher and their high school.
This year’s winners came from a narrow group of schools, nearly all in Beaverton, Portland and Lake Oswego. By contrast, last year’s winners hailed from 19 different schools.
And just three of this year’s top scholars attend high schools outside the Portland metro area, with none coming from outside the Willamette Valley. Public school winners outnumbered those from private schools 21 to 5.
The Portland-area winners, grouped by high school, are:
Catlin Gabel School:
Edington races for the Rose City Rowing club and did a senior project about the demands of becoming a professional athlete.
Rosenfeld was a student leader on refugee issues, played four years of varsity tennis and trained and competed as a defender in the national development soccer league. She was a leader of the school’s InvenTeam, which focuses on socially-conscious engineering projects, including a power system for pods of small houses. According to her LinkedIn account, she will attend Stanford University and plans to study mathematical and computational science.
Hammond played varsity soccer for three years and was elected vice president of the Franklin student body. He competed on his school’s Constitution Team and made efforts to promote more robust political discourse at his school. He will attend Columbia University and is likely to major in economics.
Nguyen told National Merit officials he is likely to study biotechnology in college.
Martin played varsity soccer. He told National Merit officials he is likely to major in finance.
Lake Oswego High:
Lee writes poetry, plays the violin and loves to read. She was captain of her school’s varsity tennis team, and she won a gold key for poetry in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. She also won an award for her writing from the National Council of Teachers of English. She is headed to Swarthmore College, where she is considering majoring in astrophysics.
Zhao was a top player on his school’s golf team. He is interested in studying biophysics.
Fennell played on her school’s varsity basketball team. She told National Merit officials she is likely to major in mathematics.
Luo is a candidate for a full International Baccalaureate Diploma and competed on his school’s 2017 Constitution Team. He won first place in a Ninth Circuit Civics Essay Contest and, with his partner, was ranked second in the state in doubles tennis. Luo told National Merit officials he plans to study law.
Suri is a devoted choir member. He is president and baritone section leader of Lincoln’s Cardinal Choir and also in the chamber choir and Lincoln’s student-run a cappella group, Vivace. He heavily involved with Lincoln robotics and mentors younger students. This was his 12th year in an international robotics program, and he has won the opportunity to attend the World Festival three times. Suri has taken part in the high school autonomous car project hosted by Portland State University that requires advanced programming and use of sensor technology. The students’ work culminated with being hailed on a global stage at the AutoSens conference in Europe. He is headed to Georgia Tech to study computer science and music technology.
Oregon Episcopal School
Hatcher was an award-winning rower for Oregon Rowing Unlimited. He won an “outstanding project” award from the Air Force for a science project on plane de-icing. He served on his school’s student council that rewrote the school’s honor code. He told National Merit officials he is likely to major in aerospace engineering.
Jin has conducted research at Portland State as part of an internship and, later, did research in partnership with a PSU professor on quantum computing topics. He volunteered to teach programming and computer science theory to middle schoolers. He received an individual national first place award in the American Computer Science League competition. He will study computer science at the University of California at Berkeley.
Kashyap competed in cross country. He taught himself computer programming and contributed to an autonomous vehicle programming project that was highlighted on a global stage in Belgium. He plans to study physics with a focus on quantum computing.
Yang won a 2019 national award from Aspirations in Computing. She was a state student leader in Oregon Model United Nations. With backing from the National Science Foundation, she conducted research on nanoparticles at Portland State University.
Chen competed on his school’s Science Bowl team, which placed first in the Northwest in 2017 and 2018. He competed in debate for three years and organized middle school debate tournaments. He told National Merit officials he plans to study computer science.
Chiu also competed on the winning Westview Science Bowl team. He told National Merit officials he plans to major in public policy.
Gupta has conducted molecular biology and genetics research at Oregon Health & Science University. He competed in tennis and took part in Model United Nations. In 2018, he conducted computational biology research at an institute co-sponsored by MIT and Harvard. He won a fourth-place grand prize at the International Science and Engineering Fair. He is headed to Yale University.
Li interned in a genetics lab at Oregon Health & Sciences University. She was a varsity swimmer. She was selected to compete in the International Science and Engineering Fair. She will enroll at MIT in the fall.
Shi was one of just 60 students nationwide to achieve a perfect score on the Advanced Placement macroeconomist test, according to a Westview newsletter. She told National Merit officials she plans to study public health.
Sood was selected to compete in the 2019 International Science and Engineering Fair, where the biomedical project she and her brother completed won the top NASA prize. She was named Washington County Outstanding Teen in a competition linked to the Miss Oregon competition. Sood is headed toward Boston University, where she has been accepted into a special seven-year program that will allow her to earn both an undergraduate medical science degree and a doctor of medicine degree.
Tong won first place in the advanced division of the Oregon programming competition. Tong also competed on Westview’s winning Science Bowl team. He was a finalist in the USA Computing Olympiad.
Zheng told National Merit officials she wants to study medicine.
Bernstein wrote a book about obsessive compulsive disorder to help others with the condition. He told National Merit officials he wants to study medicine.
The other Oregon winners are:
Blanchet Catholic School, Salem:
South Eugene High:
If you are a winner or know one, and want to reach out with a photo or additional information about the scholar, reach me at [email protected]
— Betsy Hammond
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